- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 31, 2002

Baltimore Orioles manager Mike Hargrove named Geronimo Gil his Opening Day catcher yesterday, selecting the 26-year-old rookie over veterans Brook Fordyce and Fernando Lunar.
The announcement that Gil had won the three-man competition for the starting job came shortly before the Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 in Louisville, Ky., in their final exhibition game. The team returned to Baltimore last night and will work out today at Camden Yards in preparation for tomorrow's season opener against the New York Yankees.
Gil, who appeared in 17 games last fall after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers, has far less major league experience than Fordyce or Lunar, but the Orioles have been impressed with both his handling of pitchers and his burgeoning offensive skills (he finished the spring with a .317 average, one homer and seven RBI).
Though Gil was named Baltimore's No.1 catcher, Hargrove noted that the 31-year-old Fordyce, who is in the second season of a three-year, $7.7million contract, will see considerable playing time as Gil's primary backup.
Lunar, 24, made the Orioles' 25-man roster as their third catcher, but his days with the club appear to be numbered. Hargrove will open the season with an 11-man pitching staff, but he is likely to add a 12th pitcher when No.5 starter Calvin Maduro comes off the disabled list Saturday. Because he is out of minor league options, Lunar could be traded in the next week or waived.
The Orioles also completed their Opening Day roster yesterday, deciding to keep four non-roster spring invitees: infielder Mike Moriarty, outfielder Luis Garcia and relievers Chris Brock and Rodrigo Lopez.
Those who didn't make the Baltimore roster include infielder Brian Roberts and outfielder Larry Bigbie (both optioned to Class AAA Rochester), infielder Eddy Garabito, outfielder Ryan McGuire and pitchers Sean Runyan, Travis Driskill and Lee Marshall (assigned to Rochester) and left-hander John Bale, (designated for assignment).
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the decision to keep right-handed starter Rick Bauer in the bullpen over Bale. Bale appeared in 14 games for the Orioles last year, but he complained of a sore shoulder this spring. If he is not traded or claimed in the next 10 days, he'll be assigned to Rochester.
Baltimore also placed two pitchers on the 60-day disabled list: right-hander Pat Hentgen (recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery) and left-hander John Parrish (recovering from reconstructive surgery on his right knee). Outfielder Chris Richard, who had offseason shoulder surgery, was placed on the 15-day DL.


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